Asthma During Pregnancy
It’s fairly common to have asthma during pregnancy, even if you didn’t suffer from the condition before you became pregnant. It can easily be managed with safe medication but can pose serious risks if not diagnosed or treated correctly. The most common symptoms of asthma include:
- A wheezing in the lungs.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Tightness in the chest.
If you have any of these symptoms during pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor or obstetrician as soon as possible. Breathlessness is fairly common in pregnancy and is not always a symptom of asthma. But, you want to ensure that your baby is getting as much oxygen as possible and the stuff you breathe in is their only source! If it is asthma, you will need to work out a management plan to keep you and Baby safe.
Can Pregnancy Cause Asthma?
Pregnancy induced asthma can be triggered by the hormonal changes in your body. Statistics suggest that there is up to an 8% of women developing asthma during pregnancy.
I Have Asthma. Will it Affect my Pregnancy?
Women who have an existing asthma condition actually tend to manage it better than those who develop pregnancy induced asthma symptoms. This is because they’re used to managing asthma every day.
It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor and have a management plan in place right from the time you start trying to conceive. Most asthmatic women find that managing symptoms in pregnancy is easy and get through their pregnancies without a serious attack. But it’s really important to have these symptoms well controlled.
It is also important to note that the hormonal changes in your body are likely to change the way your asthma presents. You may find your asthma worse during pregnancy. Take extra care monitoring your symptoms and communicate regularly with your specialist.
Using Asthma Medication During Pregnancy:
There has been a huge amount of research done on this topic in recent years and experts now advise that it’s safer to use asthma medication than to take a risk with the symptoms. Wheeziness, breathlessness or a full asthma attack during pregnancy can reduce your baby’s oxygen and cause a serious risk. However, studies on both humans and animals show that the risk of using an asthma inhaler is comparatively low. Talk to your doctor about the safest way to treat your asthma and don’t make any changes to your management plan without professional consultation.
What are the Risks of Asthma in Pregnancy?
Pregnancy and asthma are not friends. Asthma prevents oxygen traveling through your body, which is why it can be so deadly. Your baby is relying on you for oxygen and, if not controlled, asthma can cause:
- Slower fetal growth and lower birth weights.
- Preterm birth – delivery before week 37 of pregnancy.
- Perinatal death – stillbirth.
We don’t want to scare you with stories or statistics. Most women who have, or develop, asthma during pregnancy have perfectly normal pregnancies and deliver happy, healthy babies. But it is important to know that there are risks and that you need a management plan in place to keep you and your baby safe.
How can I Manage and Minimize these Risks?
- Make sure any medical professionals you work with know about your condition.
- Work with your professionals to develop a comprehensive plan to manage your asthma during pregnancy. This may include the use of an inhaler or other medications, more regular checkups and lung function monitoring with a peak flow meter.
- Monitor fetal movements carefully throughout the third trimester of pregnancy. Keep a kick journal – and notify your professionals of any changes.
- Protect yourself from further lung complications by getting a flu shot (these are proven to be perfectly safe for pregnant women).
- Stay away from anything that might worsen your asthma – tobacco smoke, excessive dust, pollens, and paint fumes.
Other Pregnancy Symptoms that Interact With Asthma:
Nasal symptoms, such as rhinitis of pregnancy, are fairly common and, when combined with asthma, can increase your risk of complications. If you find that you have a stuffy nose and are finding it difficult to breathe, get in touch with your medical professional. Likewise with any allergies which affect respiration.
Basically, the moral of the story is that your baby needs oxygen and you are providing it. Any symptoms or ailments that cause shortness of breath have the potential to lead to complications for you or your baby. If at any stage during your pregnancy, you are finding it difficult to breathe, you should seek medical advice.
Do you have a question about asthma and pregnancy?
Remember, there’s no such thing as a silly question! If you’ve read the article and are still wondering something about pregnancy and asthma, it’s likely that other women are wondering the same thing. Feel free to ask your question in the comments section below or to send a private message through our contact us page.
More Articles and Advice on Pregnancy Symptoms:
Aches and pains are among the most common symptoms of pregnancy and almost every woman experiences them at some point. Find out how to combat them naturally here.
Up to 70% of pregnant women suffer from pregnancy nausea in the first trimester. Read about simple dietary changes that can make it easier to bear.
A small but lucky percentage of pregnant women experience no pregnancy symptoms in the first trimester and begin to wonder if they’re pregnant at all. Find out the reasons you might have no pregnancy symptoms here.